Quincy Jones Honored With State Department’s Inaugural Peace Through Music Award
Entertainment industry stalwart Quincy Jones received the inaugural Peace Through Music Award from the U.S. Department of State on Sept. 27.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Recording Academy Chief Executive Officer Harvey Mason, Jr. chose Jones for the award, which acknowledges “an American music industry professional, artist, or group that has played an invaluable role in cross-cultural exchanges and whose music work advances peace and mutual understanding globally.”
The award was made possible through the initiative created by the bipartisan Promoting Peace, Education, And Cultural Exchange (PEACE) Through Music Diplomacy Act. It was signed into law last year by President Joe Biden.
According to The Associated Press, this wasn’t Jones’ first dealing with the State Department. In 1956, he was the music director and trumpeter for Dizzy Gillespie and his band on the first U.S. State Department jazz tour of Southern Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia.
The event on Sept. 27 included performances by Herbie Hancock, Rakim, Mickey Guyton, Armani White, and DJ 2-Tone.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mason expressed the benefit of the partnership between the Recording Academy and the State Department.
“You’re going to see a long-standing partnership between the Academy and the State Department,” Mason said. “I just believe music has a special and unique way of bringing people’s awareness to the forefront. And it’s almost darn near magic. It’s like, we call it ‘the miracle of music.’ It has the ability to have people who may or may not even like each other, stand next to each other, and nod their head, clap their hands and sing.”
Jones’s impact on popular music is unquestionable. Among the jobs in his storied career including producing Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller, the best-selling album of all-time.